Yesterday Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced bill S.232 to end the EB-5 visa program and reallocate the visas to the employment-based visas categories.
The EB-5 visa program allows foreign nationals to obtain or essentially “buy” green cards if they invest at least $500,000 in American businesses. The program was designed to help create jobs and increase foreign investment in the U.S. economy but many are questioning if this program is as effective as it has claimed.
A 2015 report GAO report found that the EB-5 Visa program is at risk for fraud and is not providing the economic benefits it was supposed to create. In September 2016 the GAO said that DHS has taken steps to address the fraud risks but the problem still remains.
In response to the GAO report Sen. Grassley introduced legislation in 2015 to reform the program. “The EB-5 regional center program has been plagued by fraud and abuse,” he said. “It poses significant national security risks. There are serious allegations that the program may be facilitating terrorist travel, economic espionage, money laundering and investment fraud.”
Sen. Feinstein wrote an op-ed calling the EB-5 program “a Ponzi scheme”. “Simply put, EB-5 sends a terrible message to the millions of immigrants patiently waiting their turn to enter the United States legally to be reunited with their families or for legitimate employment. It says that American citizenship is for sale, and that’s not what our country stands for,” she said.
The EB-5 program was extended through the CR passed by Congress last year but is set to expire on April 28, 2017.
Read more on this story at The National Law Review.
Updated: Thu, Feb 9th 2017 @ 2:10pm EST